A Fab time to move on for Muamba
March 17, 2012, is a date that will forever be etched in my memory, as I’m sure it will for anyone who witnessed those surreal scenes unfold in North London, be it live or on the TV screens at home.
I can still see the faces, recall the sounds and re-live the conversations I had that night and yet I have gone through the story so many times now, it often feels like it happened to someone else.
Was I really in the middle of all that?
It must be a similar feeling for the main protagonists. We know now that the story had a happy ending because Fabrice is still standing, still smiling, and, though he is no longer the footballer who strode on to the pitch that night, he is no less blessed.
The miracle of his recovery – and that word still does not feel hyperbolic 12 months on – has served to inspire and to educate.
There is evidence in the defibrillators being fitted in public places and schools and the increased profile of cardiac charities around the country. Good has come from this.
But football never stopped, and though it slowed for a spell, nor did the football club.
For a few weeks, the London Chest Hospital where Fabrice was battling for his life and the Reebok Stadium became the epicentres of the world’s gaze.
People from all over the planet directed their support and prayers right at us – manifesting in those huge swathes of football shirts that were placed in front of the ground and that are now being put to good use by aspiring footballers in Africa.
Time ticked by, though as Fabrice's health continued to improve, his club slipped quietly out of the Premier League.
There was a certain degree of sympathy at the time, given what an emotional cost the last few months of the season had taken, and yet the club struggled to move on and rebuild.
This last few months it has been a different story.
Fabrice – now married to Shauna and expecting a second child together - is still a regular and most welcome visitor at both Euxton and the Reebok.
Just this week he joined Sam Ricketts and Andy Lonergan to film an instructional DVD for the Hearts and Goals charity to help teach people to administer life-saving CPR, just as he had received that night almost consistently for 78 minutes.
But neither Fabrice nor the players dwell on past events and there is now a sense of looking to the future with a touch of optimism, helped of course by a well-timed run of results.
Zat Knight – the giant defender who was moved to tears on the pitch at White Hart Lane – summed up the situation perfectly when we spoke earlier this week.
“It feels a long, long time ago and to be honest, had you not reminded me it was a year I might not have known,” he said. “It is not something that the squad talks about.
“I saw Fab this morning as I was leaving and even he doesn't talk about that night because we're all concentrating on different things now.
“That's no disrespect to Fab. What happened that night didn't just affect him – although it took his career – it affected every individual at White Hart Lane; the fans, the staff, the media. Everyone is close to him and he's a lovely guy.
“But the game moves on. It sounds a bit harsh but you have to.
“We obviously keep him in our thoughts but he knows we've got something we need to focus on, and his life moves on as well.”
There is no hiding the affinity Muamba still has for the club, or vice versa. I always feel there is something incredibly symbolic about the way Wanderers fans unite in an instant to chant his name when the going gets tough on the pitch.
What a wonderful thing it would be if those same fans were to be singing his name again at Wembley in May.
While the clamour for Fabrice to re-tell his tale is still there, he will be sensibly and graciously avoiding the spotlight for now and spending this weekend on a short holiday with his family.
He will be back at the Reebok on Thursday to join Dr Jonathan Tobin, one of the medical team that helped save his life, and speak with Wanderers fans about his amazing year.
I'll be lifting a glass to Fab tonight, as no doubt will a few Whites fans, safe in the knowledge that he and the football club are getting on just fine.